It’s back to school time, almost, so what better time than now to turn our minds to learning?
Everyone can blah on about yoga being a great teacher, but what is it supposed to be teaching us? Well the good new is that it is about a topic that is infinitely interesting to everyone. Ourselves. That’s right, yoga teaches you about yourself and the easiest thing – and hardest lesson in the world – is that all you have to do is learn how to listen…
Listen to the teacher. They will tell you about the pose you are trying to get into and why you are trying to get there. Stop being distracted by what other people are doing, or not doing and, whatever you do, do not force your body into a pose it’s not ready for. This is when injuries occur, and it’s the ego that makes that happen. You will see improvements if you keep coming and allowing your body to keep trying.
Listen to your breath. If you are able to maintain the breath in a pose then you are doing it right. If you stop breathing in a pose, then are you pushing yourself beyond ‘the edge’? Your breath will help you go deeper, and will keep those muscles relaxed, so back off a bit, take a deep breath and find the rhythm again. If you find you are breathing really rapidly, or a pose is making you anxious, then slow it right down and focus on releasing whatever it is that is trying to make itself known.
Listen to your monkey mind. And then tell it to be quiet. Yep, your chattery old mind will do its best to distract you. Whether you have the voice of negativity telling you that a pose isn’t possible, or particular asanas make you physically or emotionally uncomfortable, acknowledge that your mind is working against you and then try anyway. You might be surprised by what you can do, or surprised by what shifts for you as you open your body more deeply.
Finally, listen to your body. If your muscles are screaming in agony, perhaps you have gone a bit far in a particular pose. If you aren’t feeling anything, then you most certainly aren’t doing it right and you should go back to step one, ie listen to the teacher.
So endeth the lesson.